Sport psychology is a proficiency that uses psychological knowledge and skills to address optimal performance and well-being of athletes, developmental and social aspects of sports participation, and systemic issues associated with sports settings and organizations. APA recognizes sport psychology as a proficiency acquired after a doctoral degree in one of the primary areas of psychology and licensure as a psychologist. This proficiency does not include those who have earned a doctoral degree in sport psychology but are not licensed psychologists.
"When going out for fast food, I used to get the large-size value meal. Now, I satisfy a craving by ordering just one item: a small order of fries or a six-piece box of chicken nuggets. So far, I've shaved off 16 pounds in seven weeks, and I'm on track to being thinner than my high school self for my 10-year reunion later this year." —Miranda Jarrell, Birmingham, AL
Sports psychology is a relatively young discipline within psychology. In 1920, Carl Diem founded the world’s first sports psychology laboratory at the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Berlin, Germany. In 1925, two more sports psychology labs were established – one by A.Z. Puni at the Institute of Physical Culture in Leningrad and the other by Coleman Griffith at the University of Illinois.
As an interdisciplinary subject, exercise psychology draws on several different scientific fields, ranging from psychology to physiology to neuroscience. Major topics of study are the relationship between exercise and mental health (e.g., stress, affect, self-esteem), interventions that promote physical activity, exploring exercise patterns in different populations (e.g., the elderly, the obese), theories of behavior change, and problems associated with exercise (e.g., injury, eating disorders, exercise addiction).
Most people understand transference as “falling in love” with one’s therapist. While this can be a manifestation, it paints an incomplete picture of the phenomenon. Transference can be positive or negative. Essentially, it is a powerful feeling for someone whose traits mirror those of a significant person—typically a parent—from one’s past. Garvin formed a positive transference toward Nelson (who “saved” his COO). That placed Garvin in the role of an information-dependent child vis-à-vis an expert parent. Garvin relied on his coach to come up with best practices for handling problem executives. CEOs often form these sorts of relationships with their coaches.
In a majority of cases, the coaching sessions happen weekly (3 to 4 times per month). Since the client expects to make changes and/or improvements for themselves, weekly sessions help keep the process on track and also serve as an “accountability” measure to the incremental improvement, along with addressing any other situations the client wishes to discuss with the coach.
To achieve fast results, many popular executive coaches model their interventions after those used by sports coaches, employing techniques that reject out of hand any introspective process that can take time and cause “paralysis by analysis.” The idea that an executive coach can help employees improve performance quickly is a great selling point to CEOs, who put the bottom line first. Yet that approach tends to gloss over any unconscious conflict the employee might have. This can have disastrous consequences for the company in the long term and can exacerbate the psychological damage to the person targeted for help.
Psychiatrists who’ve studied the Vietnam War are all too familiar with this type of hostile reaction to ineffectual leaders. Lieutenants fresh from ROTC training were hazed, sometimes even killed, by veteran troops who resented what they perceived to be an illegitimate attempt by the “F—ing New Guy” (FNG) to exercise authority. Military psychiatrists soon realized that these FNG lieutenants, clueless about the laws that governed life on the front lines, had been pulling rank in an effort to assert authority. The troopers did not take this well. In their view, the new lieutenants did not stack up to their predecessors, who had learned to let their hair down. To address the FNG syndrome, the military cautioned lieutenants to take it easy until the troopers accepted that they had developed field credentials.
By dint of McNulty’s force of personality or indefatigability, Mirabella stopped fighting his coach’s efforts to toughen him up. To all outward appearances, Mirabella began acting like the assertive executive he wasn’t. Once McNulty saw Mirabella’s behavior change, he told the CEO that Mirabella was now up to the job. But within a week of ending his meetings with McNulty, Mirabella became severely depressed. At that point, he turned to me for help.
Sports psychology seems like a vital component of getting athletes in the right mindset for optimal performance and well-being, and its benefits were first being realized in the early-to-mid 1900s. The history of sports psychology began with experiments and research of athlete's performance to provide enhanced mental edge to compliment physical ability.
Salaries vary based on the psychologist's area of specialization and experience, the employing organization and the amount of advanced training received. Experienced psychologists working for professional sports teams or professional athletes may earn six-figure salaries, while those working in educational or research settings receive more modest salaries.
It further identified target groups that would benefit from sports psychology, including active amateur and professional athletes; sports teams and leagues, athletes suffering from temporary or permanent injuries; as well as the family members, teammates, coaches and friends of athletes. Finally, the APA identified specific problems and the techniques that could be used to address them, including mental skills training, visualization and motivational techniques, rehabilitation counseling after injuries, stress management, boosting self-confidence, leadership and team-building training, and counseling for eating disorders or substance abuse.
Hypnotism was one of the earliest psychoanalytic techniques employed by Sigmund Freud, who was introduced to the technique by physician Josef Breuer. Freud and Breuer believed that traumatic memories that were not accessible to the waking mind could be revealed while a person was under hypnosis, thus facilitating a “cure.” Freud eventually abandoned hypnosis in favor of forced association, and then free association, after he found that not all of his patients responded to hypnotism.
Professionals in this area may also counsel other facilitators of youth sports, including coaches and parents, to help build a positive support system around child players and teams. Sports psychologists may use psychometric testing to assess issues, as well as psychotherapeutic anxiety-reduction and stress-management techniques to treat young clients.
“We brought Performance Consultants International in to Mubadala to help us launch and deliver an Executive Coaching programme to the top tiers of our organization. We maintained constant contact throughout the set-up phase. We had a true partnership with Performance Consultants who helped us every step of the way, from concept to launch to implementation and ongoing tracking. The launch event wildly exceeded expectations and the ongoing support I needed was always there. I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending them for an Executive Coaching framework in any ambitious organization”
Had Mirabella’s coach been less sports driven—or better versed in interpersonal psychology—he could have anticipated that all the learned bravado in the world could never prepare Mirabella for the role he was assigned to fill. Mirabella needed someone who would listen to his fears and analyze their origins. In the end, Mirabella could function effectively only if his advancement was predicated on his own desires and leadership style—not on someone else’s. Once he was able to deal with his inner conflicts related to those issues, Mirabella’s career proceeded without incident.
The coaching-style preference is also a factor for coaching success. The coach and the executive are agreeing to enter into a “relationship” therefore style preferences and compatibility can impact the outcomes. It is important that the coach and the client agree on how the client prefers to receive help, what they want to focus or work on, and when they want to receive it.
Many of the clucking chicken images are the result of hypnosis’s forefather, Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). Mesmer believed that there was an invisible force, a cosmic energy, that could be harnessed by one person to influence another person’s behavior. While his theory was wrong, the techniques he used were effective. These techniques were picked up on and developed over the coming years for therapeutic and medical purposes. Sigmund Freud, for instance, used hypnosis techniques. In the mid-1900s, hypnotherapy as we know it evolved. Milton Erickson (1901-1980) pioneered “indirect hypnosis,” during which therapists work with individual patients to shift their perceptions of themselves and their issues.
To get certified by the AASP, an individual must be a member of the organization, hold a graduate degree, demonstrate the requisite knowledge of the sports psychology field, and have several hundred hours of specific experience. Candidates with master’s degree are eligible for a provisional certification; a doctorate is required to obtain a standard certification.
Unfortunately, the managers and coaches did not take Griffith's recommendations seriously. Manager Charlie Grimm did not see a need for a psychologist as a consultant on a baseball team. Even though Griffith's recommendations were not taken seriously with the Cubs, he was still given the honor with the title of 'America's first sports psychologist' by University of Massachusetts professors Walter Kroll and Guy Lewis in 1970.
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A unique combination of medical and psychological competencies is needed to become a qualified sports psychologist in the United States, though individual qualifications and licensure requirements vary from state to state. Few schools in the U.S. offer undergraduate or graduate programs specifically in sports psychology, though students looking to major in this field may double-major in psychology and exercise science or pursue a degree in clinical psychology with a sports psychology concentration.
Normally, this is for three months or less. The focus of the work is to identify and prioritize developmental needs. This work is usually done in conjunction with the executive and the executive’s supervisor or HR. Interviews are conducted and a developmental plan is created with the client. This coaching jump-starts the plan with a quick transition to client independence with the supervisor and HR support for continued progress. This coaching is described more as a three-way partnership between the executive, the coach, and the organization, in which all involved agree on specific goals and parameters. Issues discussed in a coaching session however, outside of the set parameters, are considered “personal and confidential”.
In today’s demanding business environment (cost pressures leading to flatter organizations, executive managers with more direct reports, “speed to market” as a competitive advantage with time pressure, etc.) executives have limited opportunity to devote time and energy to their own development as leaders. “Most executives struggle to fulfill the responsibilities of their positions and are too busy and too stressed to step back and learn from their experiences or to implement changes to satisfy best management practices.”
This self hypnosis CD / MP3 download has been designed by our team of hugely experienced hypnotherapists to help ‘program’ your subconscious mind so that you can begin to think, feel and act like a true non-smoker. The recording includes expertly crafted hypnotic suggestion and advanced hypnotherapy techniques to help you break free from the smoking habit and cope with the stresses of life in a calm, relaxed and confident way.
Here's one way to look at it. If an experience—through coaching or anything else—reveals an interest that leads an executive away from the firm, everyone stands to gain. The executive finds a better fit and, ideally, a space in the firm becomes available to someone who is motivated by the challenges at hand. It's much the same thinking that companies have gone through regarding leadership-development programs at large. The occasional departure of a manager in whom the firm has invested a great deal is offset many times over by the increased value of those who remain.
It is important when choosing a practice that you check if they are certified with a reputable board of hypnotherapists. Anyone can promote himself or herself as a hypnotherapist regardless of training or certification. So It pays to do a little research - however most practices are reputable with proper training. Ask where they were trained and who has certified them.
But if there’s everything all health professionals agree on, it’s this: put down the smokes, any way you can, no matter how silly you feel about being hypnotized or obsessively chewing Juicy Fruit or starting talk therapy with a counselor. Don’t feel foolish if you start describing yourself as “smober,” as some NicA members do. It may be corny, but getting sober while continuing to smoke is tantamount to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic: a nice way to relieve stress in the moment but an activity that’s still going to take you down.
Nadine Greiner, Ph.D. is the CEO of On Target Solutions, which provides full-suite contemporary Organization Development Solutions. Dr. Greiner teaches in masters and doctoral programs, coaches and trains other consultants, and wrote The Art of Executive Coaching. Since she first served as a CEO at the age of 38, she understands leaders’ experience first-hand. Nadine Greiner offers her clients the expertise that comes along with 30 years of consulting success, and a dual Ph.D. in Organization Development and Clinical Psychology. She loves animals and Zumba.
In 2002, the Department for Education and Skills developed National Occupational Standards for hypnotherapy linked to National Vocational Qualifications based on the then National Qualifications Framework under the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. NCFE, a national awarding body, issues level four national vocational qualification diploma in hypnotherapy. Currently AIM Awards offers a Level 3 Certificate in Hypnotherapy and Counselling Skills at level 3 of the Regulated Qualifications Framework.